Preventive Asthma Medication Use Increasing in Children

Lower use reported among minority children, adolescents, and uninsured

TUESDAY, Dec. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Use of preventive asthma medications (PAMs) among children with current asthma increased significantly from 1988 to 2008, but disparities persisted, with lower PAM usage reported among minority children, adolescents, and the uninsured, according to a study published online Dec. 5 in Pediatrics .

Brian K. Kit, M.D., M.P.H., from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and colleagues examined trends in usage of PAMs among children (aged 1 to 19 years). Using nationally representative data collected during in-home interviews as part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, the researchers conducted a cross-sectional analysis studying 2,499 children with current asthma during three time periods: 1988 to 1994, 1999 to 2002, and 2005 to 2008. PAMs included the medication classes: inhaled corticosteroids, leukotriene receptor antagonists, long-acting β-agonists, mast-cell stabilizers, and methylxanthines.

The researchers found PAM usage increased among children with current asthma from 17.8 percent in the years 1988 to 1994 to 34.9 percent in the period 2005 to 2008. A multivariate analysis, combining all three time periods, showed lower use of PAMs among non-Hispanic black and Mexican-American children, adolescents aged 12 to 19 years, and children lacking health insurance.

"Between 1988 and 2008, more children with asthma were treated with PAMs. Further, there were changes in the classes of PAMs used and an increase in the simultaneous use of multiple asthma medications," the authors write.

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